Phelan replaces Bromwell in state job


April 04, 2007|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,Sun reporter

Maryland's largest insurance fund for injured employees has hired a 17-year veteran of the company as its new president, replacing Thomas L. Bromwell, the former state senator who stepped down in December ahead of his trial on federal corruption charges.

Thomas Phelan, formerly the executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Injured Workers' Insurance Fund, began work Monday as IWIF's president and chief executive officer.

Other top state leaders had been rumored to want the position or had expressed interest at one time in the job. House Speaker Michael E. Busch considered the position in 2000 but decided to stay in the legislature; he said in December that he was no longer interested. Former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said at the end of last year that he would have been willing to take the job, at least temporarily.

Daniel E. McKew, who heads the IWIF's board and was acting president, would not reveal the names of other finalists for the job, which pays just shy of $200,000. He said there were other internal and outside candidates.

"We went with someone who has been there through the changes and growth and can continue on the same path that has been developed," said McKew. "There were a lot of great candidates, very good and competent people, but in the end, everyone thought this was best for IWIF at this time."

Phelan was not available for comment, but said in a statement: "IWIF is a well-run organization, governed by a knowledgeable board, with dedicated employees. Our goal is to provide quality service at a reasonable price which benefits Maryland employers and helps the overall economy."

Phelan will work without a contract, at the will of the board, said McKew. He was promised the same severance package as Bromwell: a payout of $400,000 and 18 months of health insurance coverage.

Bromwell will face trial in September on federal charges of racketeering, mail fraud and extortion stemming from his time in the General Assembly. The alleged scheme triggered one of the state's largest public corruption investigations.

He quit the legislature to take the IWIF job in 2002 and served through 2006.

The nine board members that chose Phelan as his replacement were each appointed for five-year terms. Three began in the Democratic Glendening administration, with two being reappointed by Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Ehrlich appointed the remainder before leaving office in January.

In the top position, Phelan will oversee the company that insures more than one out of four Maryland businesses and employees, as well as thousands of state and local government employees, against the cost of workplace injuries.

He has worked for IWIF since 1990 and has served as director of internal audits and actuarial analysis, vice president of finance, and since 2002, executive vice president and chief financial officer. He also has also worked for the state in the Office of Legislative Audits. He is a Towson University graduate and a certified fraud examiner, according to the resume provided by IWIF.

Sun reporter Matthew Dolan contributed to this article.

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